Everything written below is my own personal view and does not reflect those of Richard Gray or WNW. If you disagree with me, please feel free to voice your opinion below in a polite and creative manner in the comments section.
I've been sitting here trying to think about what to write before the show starts and I've got nothing. There really hasn't been anything going on with TNA or anyone involved in TNA this week. Okay, there's the Hogan thing, but I had my say on that a couple weeks ago and I'm done.
Oh, I have something! I flipped over to Spike TV at about quarter of the hour. I really don't enjoy watching Jail, but TNA has started airing some pre-Impact teaser commercials that I feel are important to see. Just like when I'm writing the RAW Results, getting every little bit of the show is important in getting the full picture. When I realized that TNA had started these teaser commercials I really didn't care, but then I started watching them. At first I'd let the DVR pick them up and I'd flit back to check them out without having to watch Jail, but then I realized something really big about the way TNA does these teaser commercials...
They're actually good. Wait, they're not just good, they're better than the teaser commercials we see on Monday nights before RAW. Yes, I have found something that TNA does better than the WWE! Before RAW we get to listen to Cole yell as the camera pans the crowd. Before Impact there's either one or two commercials, and they are usually really solid promos from wrestlers in actual storylines. I'm to the point that I'll willingly watch Jail to see what TNA will come up with next. Hey, have to give TNA props where they deserve them, and they completely deserve them here.
Video > B-
As per usual they started the show with a recap video. It wasn't too terrible, but it was a bit corny. The narrating was too Sesame Street for a company that's fighting. It doesn't work for me.
Backstage Segment > C-
Hardy is suddenly a changed man after BFG? What happened to him being reborn this past year? And now he's carrying his belt and the TNA Title belt? The double belt doesn't work on Hardy, he's too thin to carry it off. Actually, there wasn't enough of him to carry out this entire segment. And Championship Thursday? What happened to Open Fight Night? Pick a name and stick with it. The more they change it the cheesier the whole company looks.
Backstage Segment > F
Hardy's thoughts as he walked through the four guys Hogan is contemplating putting in against him made me gag! All he could say about Storm is that he drinks too much? Once an asshole always an asshole? Angle is a machine! Okay, Bully does have Devon to deal with, but overall this felt like Hardy Kool Aid and I'm not enjoying the smell, so I'm not taking a drink.
X Division Championship Match – RVD (C) vs Zema Ion > C+
While I was excited to hear the fans chanting for RVD, the excitement didn't grow as I'd hoped. Then I was distracted by Borash and Todd talking about innovative Ion is. Maybe it's TNA Kool Aid, not just a Hardy sugary drink they're passing around.
RVD seemed really sluggish in the ring here. He has his moments, but he seems like he just woke up from a nap and wasn't ready to be in the ring. It wasn't a good look for RVD.
I really thought someone was going to be hurt the way Ion landed on RVD outside, but I guess it worked. Ion's corkscrew looked great, even if it didn't connect.
A different side of Morgan? I guess that fuzzy beard is a new side. Is Ryan going after RVD? That could be fun!
Winner – RVD (4:30)
Backstage Segment > A
Aries talking for the wrestlers in Hogan's office while standing outside was great. He was spot on there and I actually snorted! I'll admit that I snort when I laugh too hard, and Aries made me snort. For me that a high honor that few wrestlers reach. I'll admit that Team Hell No has reached it a number of times lately, but no one on TNA has of late.
In Ring Segment > B+
Kaz talked, and used the word troglodytes! And a second Mr. Nanny comment, is that monstrosity being re-released? I will give the fans props for being more involved than the crowd on RAW were! Kaz wasn't bad on mic, but he still can't hold a candle to Daniels. That man knows how to work the fans, and said what I'd been thinking about Chavito and Hernandez, but said it so much better than I ever could. Then again I'd be worried about racial issues saying those things, but it seems as though wrestlers are above those type of complaints.
Chavito might not have the charisma his uncle did, he sure gets his point across and seems to be doing it better than he ever did in the WWE after Eddie's passing. It's nice to see him blossoming again in a whole different way. He really deserves to be a bigger fish once more, even if it is in a smaller pond.
Backstage Segment > F-!
Why is it that Hogan gets to bring a group of guys into his office and talks crap with them? Why is it that they're not fighting it out? It thought this was wrestling, not Hogan's Chatty Fun Time Hour! At least we got a match out of it? I'd have given this segment a solid grade if not for what happened next.
Wow, they screwed that up! Just before Impact went to commercial 'Cut!' could be heard, and things were wrapped up, then they went to Hardy in Hogan's office with the other three guys, but Hardy was just milling around. Someone really dropped the ball with the timing here. The big question is will heads roll, or will they brush it off as if it never happened? I hate to compare as much as I have already tonight, but VKM would have someone's head on a platter if that happened on WWE TV.
Backstage Segment > D-
Like Devon needed to make a big deal about A&8's not removing their masks. That was overkill in my book. Why state the obvious? I love Devon, but that segment stunk up the place!
TV Title Match - Robbie T w/ Robbie E vs Samoa Joe > C
Well, it's been quite a while since we've seen T in the ring! That being said, I feel bad for Joe having to face either Robbie at this point. And then the way the announcers talked up T over Joe? The lawsuit between TNA and the WWE needs to be resolved so Joe will have a fighting chance. This is beyond pathetic and Joe is so much better than anything TNA is giving him. Hopefully something breaks because it's embarrassing to watch Joe in such matches.
Winner – Joe (2:16)
Video > D
The color filter that they used for this segment made Tessmacher, Tara and Jessie look beyond orange. Ugh, the whole thing is just gross.
Backstage Segment > B-
I think Tessmacher handled herself quite well in this segment. She felt a bit robotic, but not as bad as she's been in the past. She's making steps in the right direction, so hopefully she will continue to improve.
Backstage Segment > D
And more of the wrestlers talking smack about each other so they can get a Title shot. The shaky camera, focusing too much on Hardy's posters, and saying nothing we don't expect. It's so boring and so lame!
Backstage Segment > D+
I love Anderson, but why did we need this little rant? I'd much rather watch him rant with his fists on Aries in the ring. Too much talk, not enough action. 45 minutes into the show and we've had 6:46 of wrestling, and none of it very good. Hogan needs to get off our TVs and let them fight!
Anderson vs Aries >
So they could give us Anderson little rant backstage, but not Anderson's entrance on TV? That's completely daft in my book. Even further, the announcers are talking up the issues between these two, but I have no idea when these two developed these mysterious issues.
Aries actually tried to shove those knucks down Anderson's trunks. I know what he was after, but the whole thing looks – okay, no matter what I say about that it's going to sound bad. You know what I'm getting at, so I'll just leave it at that.
Honestly, I expected a lot from these two facing off, but going into the commercial I was left bored. Aries has to stick with his newly uber heel persona, but it's making his ring work suffer. I normally love Aries and will stop typing just to watch the magic at work, but this match is doing nothing for me.
But coming out of the commercial it was as if they suddenly remembered who they were and the match became just wonderful! Wow, it's as if they're two totally different people, the people we expect them to be in the ring. Not just that, but Aries made his bad boy heel-ish ways work better than I thought they would. That started off very slowly, but turned into something delightful!
Winner - Aries (12:38)
Backstage Segment > D
So, Jessie wants to be a wrestler now? He has a look, but can he actually work the ring? I will say that his facial expression, when Brooke told him about ODB, was just great. It was a bit over-the-top comical, but that's part of what can make wrestling so much fun. Or it was in the 80's, and maybe Jessie can bring it back?
Announce Segment > C
What the heck was this announce thing all about? The way Taz pretty much blew off Borash and Todd was funny! Honestly, I didn't think I'd be so happy to have Tenay and Taz back on announce!
Knockouts Title Match – Tessmacher vs Tara (C) w/ Jessie > D+
So, Jessie is ringside to stand around showing off his chest? Well, I guess that's what Taryn is doing, so what's good for the goose is good for the gander? But then there's Tessmacher. I'm putting her in the same group with Gabriel this week. The way she over sells moves is getting a bit comical, but not in a good way. Both of them made their matches look cheap for how they took moves.
I'm not saying that Tara isn't looking cheap being all over Jessie, but this is the type of disgusting that people are complaining about not seeing in the WWE. Either you want the smut back or you don't. I guess we should be glad TNA isn't PG?
Winner – Tara (3:55)
In Ring Segment > C
Wait, next week is Open Fight Night? And this is Championship Thursday? This is so confusing! I will say that Jessie again sold the comedy that might make him work better than I thought in TNA, but it was Brooke who surprised me. Something about the way she came out and addressed them in the ring, all I could see was her father. She really seemed to be in her comfort Zone and made it work. I never thought I'd be saying anything so positive about Brooke, but I was impressed.
Backstage Segment > A-
Joseph is so great! Park, Park & Park? I can't wait for all of this to come to a head. When this all unravels, it's going to be very interesting! Abyss as part of, or leader of, A&8's?
In Ring Segment > A-
I like how Bully is again thanking Sting and Hogan for letting him fight with them at BFG, it further sets up for a big reveal at a later point. And then the fans jumping on Devon verbally was nice to hear. It's about time the fans get a bit mouthy!
I went looking to see if I could find anyone else who kicked out of the 3D. Someone else absolutely had to have kicked out of the 3D, but I didn't find any exact instances of someone kicking out of that finisher. I will do more hunting on this one before next week. And then it being Devon who said screw the fans, they're already rich? Yeah, why don't I believe that?
That Devon wouldn't let his brother bully him was rather interesting. I know it's the heel thing, but he's making it work. I'm impressed with how Devon is playing heel to Bully's semi-face. It's working better than I ever thought possible. Taz's reaction to all of that made it that much more powerful. I'm thrilled Taz was on announce for that and not the other two.
Backstage Segment > B
The matching of Ryan and Morgan is very interesting. They swerved Morgan on us, that he isn't part of A&8's, and it's working. I'm not liking the thick beard on Morgan, but I am liking him having a direction and a solid character.
Video > B+
Christian York? He kind of impressed me in this segment. There was clips of him I TNA, but it was a four sided ring. Huh, I just went and looked into York a little bit. Rather than fill this up, I'm going to write my pre-blog about York next week. Seems like a rather interesting lad.
Backstage Segment > B
Brisco and Garett hanging out with Storm and Angle? That's rather odd. I know Brisco has been following Angle around lately, but what about Garett? Even funnier is how much Garett's shirts have been looking like Gallows. I know it has nothing to do with anything, or does it? I wonder if TNA is being subtle. Hey, it could be possible! And what's Hogan's plans for Storm? He dangled that info out there, so he better give Storm, and in extension us, something really cool.
What is this new 'cyborg' thing for Angle? Is it because there's continually growing parts of Angle that are not organic? He can't be the Genetic Freak, so he's going to be the Cyborg? Not sure how I feel about that yet. Give me a couple weeks to stew on it.
TNA Title Match – Angle vs Hardy (C) > A
Sometimes I forget just how great Angle and Hardy can be. They really brought the best out in each other in this match. As much as I love Aries, I think this match was better than Hardy's BFG match. This match truly held my interest more than the BFG match did. The fans were correct with their 'This is awesome!' chants. This was glorious! If more of TNA's matches could be half this good, I'd be shouting about TNA from rooftops. But I live in Maine and it's heading toward hunting season... You know what I mean! TNA has the talent, they just need to let them work the ring as they can, like they did here, TNA would be killing WWE – at least with the IWC members who love to watch serious ring work. And I need to say again that these two brought out the best of each other in that ring and we all won for it.
I do have to say that anyone spitting out blood has internal injuries in wrestling makes me laugh. I know it's the way announcers work, but they left me giggling with that one.
Winner – Hardy (14:01)
In Ring Segment > B+
I love how Aries wants to fight for that Title belt, not Hardy's belt. I guess we now understand why Hardy was carrying both belts for this show. Even better was that Aries spit on Hardy's belt before hitting Hardy over the head with it. The icing on the cake was Aries leaving with the real TNA WHC Title belt. That was just wonderful!
Backstage Segment > B
Well, A&8's had to beat down whoever it was that the dart decided they would destroy, so they had to do it to end the show. That it was Garett and Brisco who chased off A&8's makes me continue to wonder if TNA is trying to be subtle. And after Angle's possible internal injuries, how long will he be out after this beat down?
While I've been really good about complaining about the dead crowds this week, I think the dead announcers made the first half of this show much worse than it actually was. I didn't catch why Taz and Tenay weren't on announce for the first hour, but it really brought the show down. I didn't think that I'd be that happy to see Taz and Tenay to return to announce.
Beyond that, I think this is one of the worst episodes of Impact we've seen in a long time. It seemed like each segment was worse than the one before it. The only match actually worth the time to watch was the main event. The main event was stellar, but a two hour show cannot be carried by a fourteen minute match. I had thought TNA was on an upswing, but this episode was downright cruddy. Hopefully things will pick up for Open Fight Night? Wishful thinking, but after Championship Thursday sucked so badly, all I can run on is wishful thinking and maybe that they're just having a between PPV slump. Keeping my fingers crossed.